Food strategy will boost farm output, says Defra

The government has asked 80 industry representatives to help develop a long-term strategy it says will boost output from UK farms.

Defra said an industry-led 25-year plan will “up the country’s ambitions for food and farming” so the UK can “grow more, buy more and sell more British food”.

See also: Defra pledge to reverse declining self-sufficiency in food

The food and farming industry generates more than £100bn a year for the UK economy, making it the country’s biggest manufacturing sector – bigger than cars and aerospace combined.

Defra secretary Liz Truss said the government was “hugely ambitious” for the future of food and farming and its potential to drive economic growth.

Industry representatives are being asked to suggest ways to promote a British brand, grow exports, improve skills and attract high-flyers to make their careers in the food and farming sector.

The government is also keen to explore ways of harnessing data and technology so that the food and farming industry can innovate, grow and create jobs.

Ms Truss said: “The food and farming industry is already an economic powerhouse, worth more than £100bn a year and supporting one in eight jobs.”

Industry representatives were brought together by Defra on Thursday (16 July) to discuss the issues in a series of events convened by the department.

Participants included trade associations, farming businesses, retailers, food manufacturers and the research community to share ideas on how to encourage enterprise and boost productivity.

Outcomes from the event would form a key part of a 25-year food and farming plan to increase competitiveness across the entire food chain, said Defra.

The strategy would help the UK become one of the world’s most innovative food nations, it said.

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